Chocolate Shortbread Houses

Better than gingerbread?

by Lindsay Tarnoff

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Shh…I may have eaten alllmost an entire chocolate shortbread house while writing this post…

My chocolate gingerbread house

Growing up, one of my favorite holiday traditions was making a chocolate “gingerbread” house. My mom made the dough from scrattch (with “help” of course, from my sisters and I). She put the house together with royal icing, and then my sisters and I would go to town decorating this ginormous, delicious house with homemade buttercream frosting and alllll the candy.

It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized it was actually chocolate shortbread that I loved, and that I had never had gingerbread. If you’ve read our blogposts, or if you knew me growing up, you know that chocolate has always been a part of my life, even as a child! This chocolate shortbread “gingerbread” house was an annual tradition. As traditions do, this one has evolved with new generations, and in this case,  a growing business.

mind your own uterus

The Best Cocoa Powder for the best chocolate shortbread

It has always seemed like a natural fit for Laughing Gull Chocolates to make chocolate houses around the holiday season. We made some and had a decorating event in 2019 – just before the pandemic.

Chocolate house

Chocolate “gingerbread” house

They were beautiful! And a lot of work.

This year, we decided to try something new – err, old, with a new twist. We made chocolate shortbread gingerbread houses – and let me tell you, they were even more delicious than I remember! And I admit, it is for a good reason. We upgraded. This year, we used Meridian Cacao‘s cocoa powder from Kokoa Kamili, in Tanzania. I dare you to find cocoa powder that is a better quality and tastes better. The cocoa powder that you use in your baked goods truly makes a difference.

And the chocolate shortbread dough comes together

The dough was beautiful, and so yummy. Full disclosure, I may have saved some dough to snack on for those craving moments.

Mixing cocoa powder for chocolate shortbread

Mixing cocoa powder for chocolate shortbread

One of my favorite things (and tricks of the trade) about making a chocolate dough like this is that when rolling it out, instead of using flour to prevent it from sticking, I used this cocoa powder!

Ready to roll chocolate shortbread

Ready to roll chocolate shortbread

I love carrying on family traditions and would love for you to share in the comments what some of your traditions are that you are carrying on.

Bite out of shortbread in front of computer

And now the recipe...

1 cup butter

1 cup powdered sugar

6 tbs cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 c flour

2 tbs cornstarch

1/4 tsp salt

Grease and flour mold.

Cream butter, and add sugar and cocoa powder, and mix. Add vanilla. Sift flour, cornstarch and salt together. Press into mold (or roll out dough). Bake for 25 min at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from oven and let cool on rack before removing from from pan.

Put together with your favorite royal icing (or tempered chocolate) and enjoy!